Using automation to take manual, repetitive tasks off your plate can give you more than just extra time in your day. Let’s explore how pairing business process automations with SMS chatbots can help sales and marketing teams improve their qualified lead pipeline, nurture and engage prospects, convert more leads and so much more.
This post will cover what automation is, why you should automate sales and marketing activities, and how two-way automated texting experiences can increase your conversions and bring more value to your business (and your life).
First, What is Automation? What is BPA, RPA, AI and Chatbots?
Simply put, automation is the technology by which a process, procedure or task is performed with minimal or no human assistance.
Business Process Automation (BPA)
Business Process Automation (BPA) is “the technology-enabled automation of complex business processes.”
You may already be familiar with some of the common uses of BPA. There are customer-facing, external (or “front office”) automations: email automation (sending drip campaigns), basic profile-based targeting (digital advertising), and personalization with dynamic content (content marketing).
There are also internal (or “back office”) business process automations: employee onboarding, purchase order management and restructuring data. These automations only scratch the surface of the possibilities, by focusing on single, one-way processes that benefit the business, while missing the opportunity to connect the automated processes and use them to communicate with the external customer.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) comes from BPA. By definition, it is “an emerging form of BPA technology based on metaphorical software robots (bots) or artificial intelligence (AI) workers.” In other words, RPA is like the sibling of BPA that uses robots. RPA could be thought of as a virtual worker that’s trained to perform any of your repeatable and standardized work flows or tasks. One example of a repeatable work flow would be receiving an email, extracting the data and recording information in your CRM (what Hubspot does when you receive an email from one of your contacts).
To break it down simply, you’re using technology to automate a repetitive task – like qualifying or following up with a sales lead.
The definition also includes RPA implementations paired with Artificial Intelligence (AI), commonly referred to as RPA/AI. One of the most common uses of RPA/AI are chatbots. Chatbots, and specifically two-way SMS chatbots, create robot-to-human communication between your business and your customer. The result is a “virtual worker”—a chatbot—that acts on your behalf and can have text conversations with your prospects.
Automated One-Way Texting Bots vs Two-Way Texting Chatbots
Automated texts are SMS messages that are triggered or scheduled to send on their own.
The most common kind of automated texting is a one-way alert (coupons, appointment reminders, confirmations, etc) where the business sends a message, typically containing a link or other CTA outside of the conversation, and the user cannot text back.
Two-way automated texting chatbots simulate the process of a natural human conversation, so the person can text back and complete tasks like qualifying for a service or following up and scheduling a demo, all using SMS text messaging.
While many businesses have seen early success with the one-way methods, as you can see, two-way automated texting has the potential to be much more purposeful and impactful for the business and the user.
How can sales & marketing use two-way texting chatbots?
Businesses using automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. Stats aside, by automating tasks with texting, it allows you to focus more on things humans actually enjoy doing. Since much of the sales and marketing process depends on speed, nurturing and good user experience, automation gives you an edge. Automated texting is not only fast, it allows you to have a personalized and contextually aware conversation with customers. The chatbot can use the person’s name, recall conversation details, and offer customers the convenience to complete tasks even when the business isn’t open. Plus, customers want to text, and they’ll respond quickly (as fast as 90 seconds). It’s important to interact with prospects the way that they want, it means more conversions, happier clients, and more referrals.
Let’s look at all of the ways sales and marketing can benefit from automated texting.
Improve Your Pipeline of Qualified Leads
Imagine if you never had to spend time working unqualified leads again. 92% of teams say that their main goal with marketing automation is to improve their qualified lead pipeline. With an automated texting chatbot, you can ask a prospect a series of qualifying questions in an engaging conversation and determine if they meet your criteria. The leads find out quickly if they qualify, right in the conversation. If they qualify, you are notified to contact the lead and take next steps.
Programmatically trigger your SMS workflows
In sales and marketing, your CRM is your home base. Like the workflows you’ve already built in your process, you can configure your SMS chatbot to send a text based on activities in your CRM. Plus, all of the details your texting robot collects from a prospect or customer during their conversation will be routed back to your CRM, so you know exactly where the person is in the process.
Convert Faster With Real Time Quotes
Using automated texting instead of a traditional, lengthy web form speeds up the quoting process for your prospects. They can answer questions quickly in a conversation, which makes the process much more enjoyable, and even fun. Not only can you keep them engaged, you are able to deliver incredible value by providing a quote in real-time when you integrate APIs with your texting chatbot. Once the lead is ready to take next steps, they’ve already made progress on the application, and since you’ve made the process so painless, you’ll see higher conversions from leads to customers. Digital life insurance agency Haven Life was able to lower their cost per lead and increase quotes-completed using a Messenger Chatbot (which was followed shortly by an SMS bot).
Follow Up, Re-Engage and Nurture
Less than 5% of voicemails are responded to. That means you might have to leave 20 follow up voicemails before you get a response. Automated texting chatbots change this. You can train a chatbot to follow up using smart timing intervals, find out if a lead is still interested and schedule a time to talk on a specific day or time. The chatbot can also automatically re-engage a prospect when they drop off at any point during your conversation, remind them to continue and recall the conversation details.
Get more value for your marketing efforts
You’re already marketing to leads on your social media profiles and website, advertising your business locally and online, why not get twice the value? By adding automated texting to your website forms, traditional and digital ads, leads are able to start a conversation and get a personalized response right away. There’s a 10x drop in lead qualification when you wait longer than 5 minutes to respond. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to convert inbound traffic, and improve your response rate at the same time with automated texting.
This one is simple. Using automated texting to communicate with prospects and customers means you’ll spend less of your productive time following up with customers and working unqualified leads. With the efficiency automated texting can give you, you’ll have more time to spend with qualified leads, clients and referral partners, and marketing and growing the business in new ways.
Every human is unique and does things a bit differently. For sales and marketing, communicating quickly with the same messages and following up consistently every single time is crucial. 44% of sales reps give up after one follow up, and even less run their playbooks the same every time. Automated texting chatbots ensure your prospects and customers will get the message you want every time and understand the business value. And, your automated texting chatbot will follow up for as long as it takes, for a fraction of the cost.
And much, much more! With automated two-way texting you can…
- Engage with leads and increase conversion rates by 112.6%
- Use a chatbot to qualify your leads via text, so you only spend time closing ready leads
- Nurture and direct your inbound traffic with personalized recommendations
- Automatically follow up with prospects who have missed appointments via text and find the best time for you to speak again
- Re-engage customers when you need additional documents or renewals
- Stop getting ghosted 👻 and finally find out if they’re still interested
Now that you know a few of the benefits of automated texting for sales and marketing, you probably have several ideas of how your business can benefit from running automated playbooks and automating your repetitive tasks like: filling your free consultation and demo pipeline, pre-qualifying prospects, confirming appointments, rescheduling and following up, and of course, convert more leads. SMS chatbots are the best way to take advantage of the benefits of business automation, the convenience of texting and making your business available 24/7. Automating your repetitive sales and marketing activities is a no brainer. Using SMS chatbots to have two-way conversations, activate customers and convert leads is a game changer.